Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Photos of cycling in Holland

My family and I recently made a trip to Holland to visit my folks. They live in Lelystad, a city in the Flevopolder, which is reclaimed land. Lelystad is only 45 years old. My family moved there in 1972, when there were probably about 5,000 inhabitants. Now the  population is about 80,000. After focussing on car traffic for several decades after the second World War, in the seventies governments at all levels in the Netherlands started to make cycling a priority. So in Lelystad cycling was an integral part of transportation planning right from the start. 4 Lane highways were built for cars only, with many cyclist/pedestrian bridges crossing these highways. Through the years some of the highways have disappeared, and the routes for cars have sometimes become less direct. A few traffic lights have been added here and there, quite a few roundabouts - I can't think of any stop signs in Lelystad, yield signs are actually more common - and Lelystad now has a railroad with frequent trains to Amsterdam. But the most impressive part of the transportation system is the bicycle network, much of it separated. Anyway, I won't bore you with all the details, but I thought I'd post some pictures of some of the cycling infrastructure and some of the rides we did. Come along for the ride:

These are pics I just took randomly around Lelystad.

We also did a bike route all around Lelystad, mapped and signed by the ANWB (the Dutch Automobile Association). Total distance about 40 km. Much of it on separated bike paths. Some of Lelystad's surroundings are not the most exciting: it's flat everywhere, endless agricultural fields, long straight roads. But it's great for biking, and the bike infrastructure is great! Here are the photos.

On another day we rented bikes from the Dutch Railways: "OV Fiets". If you have a membership (cost $21 per year if you don't have a Railway pass), you can rent 2 bikes per membership for 3 euros per bike per 24 hours. Great deal. We biked along the river IJssel between Kampen and Zwolle, a 32 km round trip, again an ANWB bike route. Click here to see the pictures.

There are many bike routes in Holland. There are hundreds of local/regional routes throughout the country, and also national routes. You can also put together your own route, using the "knooppuntennetwerk" (cycling node network), with signage throughout the country, and maps along the routes. The only problem: there's just too much to choose from!  

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